Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Lesson in Racism

From today's mailbox:

What if John McCain were a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished fifth from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain were still married to the first woman he said 'I do' to?
What if Obama were the candidate who cheated on his first wife after she no longer measured up to his standards?

What if Michelle Obama were a wife who not only became addicted to pain killers, but acquired them illegally through her charitable organization?
What if Cindy McCain graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama were a member of the Keating-5*?

* The Keating Five were five United States Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis
Savings and Loan Scandal of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

What if McCain were a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

If these questions reflected reality, do you really believe the election numbers would be as close as they are?

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes and minimizes positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

PS: What if Barack Obama had an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter? What would people be saying?

You are The Boss... which team would you hire?

With America facing historic debt, 2 wars, stumbling health care, aweakened dollar, all-time high prison population, mortgage crises, bank foreclosures, etc.

Educational Background:

Columbia University - B.A. Political Science with a Specialization in International Relations.
Harvard - Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

University of Delaware - B.A. in History and B.A. in Political Science. Syracuse University College of Law - Juris Doctor (J.D.)


McCain: United States Naval Academy - Class rank: 894 of 899

Hawaii Pacific University - 1 semester
North Idaho College - 2 semesters - general study
University of Idaho - 2 semesters - journalism
Matanuska-Susitna College - 1 semester
University of Idaho - 3 semesters - B.A. in Journalism

Now, which team are you going to hire?

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Monday, October 20, 2008

I Became Part Of History Today

I voted today. I opened my absentee ballot, filled it out, signed my name, put a stamp on it and then I cried. The emotion of casting such a history making vote opened up something in me, a feeling that I'd shut down in the 60's with the assassination of JFK when I was twelve, and followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr and Robert Kennedy. Politics from that point on became an act of voting against someone more than it was an act of voting for someone.

My vote for Obama was based on many things, the primary one being my belief that the President is more a symbol than an action. He or she, as we came close to being able to say, represents the face America presents to the world. Congress is what creates the America we live in, and the President is the person who carries the will of the people to the world.

In the last eight years we've had as a symbol a man whose intellectual capacity was limited to comic book heroics and grade B movie acting. His face is what the rest of the world saw when they saw us, no matter how horrible that seems. And it was reinforced by a Congress so bought and paid for by corporate lobbyists they had no room left to legislate for the American people. And the American people under eight years of a brutal thug and his henchmen, had no will to fight back and demand equal representation.

As I was growing up I read about countries whose people were beaten down by the horrible circumstances of their existence and by the complete intrusion of the government into their miserable lives. I read about people in countries who were afraid of the police, who cynically understood everything on the television, radio and in the newspapers was carefully orchestrated propaganda by a government who didn't care if you believed it or not. It was the party line and there was no coloring outside of it.

Under the Bush regime I watched the number of poor increase as the number of wealthy grew even wealthier. I watched the middle class become the servant class. I watched the poor become the homeless. I watched religious fanaticism and dogmatism take the place of liberty and intellectual discourse. I watched a love of ignorance, a joy in stupidity, a disdain of intelligence take over the country like a well-designed plague. And I watched a government terrorize and spy on its own people. I watched people disappear into prison camps never to be heard from again. I watched America go from a country admired the world over to one hated for its warmongering stupidity. I saw America become a country that  the rest of the world saw as one of ignorant, warmongering savages oppressed and controlled by their own government.

That is why Obama is such an important symbol. He makes America once again the leader of new ideas, new dreams, new visions. He makes America once again be the country where we are one people presenting a uniquely American face to the world. Once more people can point to this country and say in America anyone can grow up to be President, no matter the color of his skin. Once more people can point to this country and say this is what freedom is all about, this is what Democracy means. Once more people can point to America and say when a government is bad and does not honor its people, they vote them out and replace them with one that will honor the traditions this country was based on, the visions that created it, the courageous who dared to act upon their dreams.

Barack Obama is a symbol, true. But he is also a symbol of something far more important. He represents a shift back to America as a land of human beings instead of mean and fearful little creatures to be manipulated for political gain. Those who are casting their ballots for him are also saying it's time for America to return to its roots, to transform the cruel existence forced on it by Corporate rule and once again become a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

The Republican lie that was spread through bought and paid for stooges and blackmailed weak-willed patsies was that Liberal was a bad word, that Progressive was a bad word, that Democrat was a bad word. The lie was spread at the same time the myth of Republicanism was portrayed as responsible, grown-up and sensible as compared to the upstarts that dared to have a say in how their lives were run, who dared to care about the poor, the elderly, and who valued education and conversation that was meant to share knowledge instead of defame it.

Hate became the drug mainlined into the bottom layer of society so it could spread up and infect everyone. But to control someone with hate, you have to give them someone to hate. So the puppetmasters created bad Liberals, Arabs, dark-skinned scary people. And because the groups were so completely separated by ideology, skin color, religious beliefs, one group was blissfully unaware of the other group steadily losing all their rights, all their freedoms, all their democratic right to exist side by side with the other groups.

It is an old tactic used by every dictator throughout time, by every totalitarian regime and banana republic that cares nothing about human beings but everything about money and power. And this time it was inflicted on America and Americans opened the doors to their homes and welcomed it in willingly.

But the greedy went too far this time. They stole too much. They let too many crazies out of the box. They became drunk on power and believed their own mythology. They forgot, if they ever bothered to learn, that they were falling into the same trap that brought down every corrupt government throughout time who believed the same thing.

And that's why I cried today, because with so many people voting for Obama, it isn't really about race. It isn't really about the color of his skin. It is about taking back our country and that's why I cried. People woke up and are continuing to wake up and that's what it takes to sweep the last of the old guard out the miserable doors they built for the rest of us.

It's time to present a new face to the world, one of a people united in a common dream that decency, respect, intellectual discourse, and taking care of each other matters because we are all children of the same mother. Only in this way do we once again become the golden land that the rest of the world admired and strived to become.

But please don't get complacent. You MUST show up at the polls because once and for all we must stop these corrupt corporate sleaze bags from defiling our elections as if we were some forsaken banana republic. Only huge numbers will keep them from stealing it. Only huge numbers of people casting the most history making vote in history will take our country back. VOTE! It's far too important to leave it up to the other guy. This time we are all the other guy.

Click on image to purchase tile and other items with this design from the Voted For Obama shop.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mean People Still Suck

One of the things I really enjoy about getting older is that a lot of what was once important just seems so godawfulfuckinridiculous now. Often it's a source of amusement to remember an event, a person, an emotion related to a time and laugh at how insignificant it is now, how small a thing it became when once it was so important. Even that is an awakening because there was a time when I'd have been outraged at the overwhelmingly large becoming the humorously small. I would have been insulted to waste my rich emotional life on piddly crap. But the truth is I did. I wasted a lot of me that could have been spent better elsewhere. I gave my heart to so much piddly crap that I could wear a crown of insignificance with all the pride of someone who had devoted her life to earning such a trophy. I really could. And yes, I earned it. Damn straight, I earned it.

I could cry over it, but now I just laugh. I laugh at a lot of things. I laugh at people who take themselves so seriously there's no wiggle room for them to be anything else. A creative grave is still a hole in a ground with dirt. But they can't see it. The grave is the thing you see, these people say with all the intensity of the armchair philosopher with credentialed thoughts leading the marching band in their brains.

I am always left exhausted arguing with people like that because their entire lives are talking points. They can't go beyond them. They can't stretch them. They can't question them. They can't interpret them. But they gather up each other like a big old sticky ball of tape rolling down a hill.

They're what's happened to this country in the last few years. I blame these sticky ball folks' appalling lack of ability to think outside their own grave for the appalling  talking points mentality that has taken over this country like dirt shoveled on that grave.

People are  burying themselves in the emptiness of ideologies that don't come from anything they believe. It comes from their masters, the ones that keep them afraid and weak and insignificant. It comes from those they envy, those they covet, those they resent for freedoms and intact dreams they no longer have.

I haven't seen anything like it since the ant farm I had as a kid, the one I continually messed with in the hopes of getting the ants to do something, anything other than the regimented pattern of their existence. But it never happened. The ants remained ants.

That ant farm prepared me to meet people who couldn't think beyond their own immediate needs, who couldn't conceptualize beyond their own wants, and who desperately sought the path of least introspection. It's the only reason I didn't become an antisocial grub-eating, grass-munching, cave-dwelling hermit. The ants warned me about such people. I knew them when I met them. I was emotionally prepared for their emptiness. I knew they would never give back even a fraction of what I was capable of giving. I just saw it as an unfair way of the world. There's lots of things like that. I can't let myself get beaten up over them.

But I was never adequately prepared for the selfish cruelty of people. I'm still appalled and shaken to the core of my idealistic self when I am confronted with it. I just don't understand people who think only of themselves and no one else. It seems like such an empty way to be, such a hollow excuse for what could be a rich and meaningful life. Part of me wants to feel sorry for them and the other part of me sees them as undeveloped two year olds who never set aside their emotional diapers for the real world.

I've met more than my share of backstabbing losers and unfortunately a lot of them convinced me they were my friends. The older I got the more I pruned them away like the dead growth they always were but I couldn't always see. I wanted them to grow, to change, to evolve, but sadly they never did and in some cases just became even more selfish, even more mean, even more petty, even more ridiculous  excuses for human beings. I had to let them go or they would take me down with them.

But I've learned that when you let something bad go, you often make room for something good to grow in its place. I've learned that most people are inadequate in some way. I can deal with that. I don't judge the inadequacies of those I love and respect. I see it as part of their charm, their humanity. What I can't deal with is mean. Mean people suck. They really do and they always will. It takes a real snake of a person to be mean when there's so many other options.

But you know, in an odd sort of way I think we are nearing the end of that time when mean people ruled with such power and authority. It's crazy to see it but what brought them down in the end was their own meanness, their own selfishness, their own greed, their own shallow belief that everyone owed them something and they owed no one anything.

Just as those I cut ties with eventually had to start feeding on each other because I was no longer there as an option, so did the culture of greed, the spoiled brats that never grew up had to start feeding on each other. And that's what brought them down because greed will never satisfy hunger. Only introspection and emotional maturity can do that. Only compassion and altruism and thinking beyond yourself can do that. Only a world where we value each other more than we value things or power or vengeance can keep us from becoming those regimented ants trapped between two pieces of glass and a great big pile of dirt.

Canvas tote bag from Ursine Logic.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

And now for a break from politics...

Cafepress has an agreement with the makers of the Flip Mino camcorder that makes them available for us to design and offer in our shops. I've been having mass fun making designs for these things, and my guess is they'll be wildly popular holiday gifts just because they're a camcorder for under 200 dollars, are small, quick and easy to use. And they make it really easy to upload what you've just recorded to youtube. I'm offering them as the suggested manufacturer's price because electronics of any kind are just not a money maker. I see them more as a way to let people know that I have this really bizarre side of my personality that makes weird designs just for fun. So here's a couple of my faves I made last night.

Click on the images to find out more and to purchase one. If you want to see all of them I've made so far, visit their special section in Ursine Logic  FLIP MINO CAMCORDERS And if you have a design or photo you want on one, I'll be glad to make it for you. Just send me a custom order request to

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Joe the Plumber needs an accountant

Setting aside the fact that Joe the Plumber doesn't have a plumbing license, which USUALLY means working under the table and not paying taxes on that income, he also has a problem paying the taxes on income he does declare: read more

And also setting aside that he's a Republican plant who wouldn't vote for Obama no matter how much he'd get a break on those taxes, if what he says is even remotely true about buying that mythical plumbing business for 280,000 and immediately having to pay taxes on that whole amount, there's a serious problem Joe needs to deal with. Joe needs an accountant, one that will explain to him what a tax deduction is, what a business expense is, what paying yourself a salary is so he won't be taxed on that business he claims cost more than 250, 000 dollars. Joe is an idiot if he goes ahead and pays taxes on income he shouldn't have to pay taxes on. No wonder Republicans are always screaming about a tax break. They're obviously too dumb to figure out their own income tax forms.

Or maybe Joe the Republican Plumber (Watergate anyone?) is factoring in the cost of the back taxes he already owes. It's that fuzzy math, you know.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Flies On The Wall #51


Thursday, October 09, 2008

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I lost my first friend to Breast Cancer almost ten years ago, and I lost the latest one just last month. In between there were several more, all remarkable women whose passing left big holes in my life and in the lives of many people. I think of the art that won't be created anymore, the music that won't be written and performed, the words that died with them, and mixed with the sadness is an anger and disappointment that we can spend billions of dollars on finding new and more gruesome ways of killing people, and so little to save people dying from this horrible disease. Yes, I know that men also get Breast Cancer, but the numbers are far fewer and I can't help wonder at times if maybe there'd be more money devoted to finding a cure if it wasn't overwhelmingly women who are dying.

Of course, you're welcome to prove me wrong. You're welcome to donate and prove that you do think this is a disease that affects everyone for a very simple reason: the survivors women leave behind. They aren't just women. They are husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and friends. It is a disease that affects us all and we need to do something now, not when it's an epidemic killing those we love and cherish. Here's a link to find out more and to donate: Susan G. Komen foundation

Also, several months I made some designs to raise awareness of the disease. I've learned through the years that words are not as effective as an image. I designed this bag for myself and it gives me a chance to encourage people to donate because it puts a face on the disease, it allows me to tell them about my friends who died from Breast Cancer and also those who are fighting it, who have survived it. This gives people a story behind their donation, and it lets them know that Breast Cancer itself is not a death sentence, but it can become one if we don't work to fund a cure. Find a way to make a visual statement to go with your own words and maybe we can defeat this disease in my lifetime.

Canvas tote bag can be purchased at Strong Woman

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Lynch mobs for McCain-Palin

John McCain is no man of honor and he sullies all who served honorably with what he's become recently.

"The Secret Service is following up on media reports today that someone in the crowd at a McCain/Palin event suggested killing Barack Obama, according to Secret Service spokesman Malcolm Wiley. The shout of "kill him" followed a Sarah Palin rant on Obama's relationship with radical Chicagoan Bill Ayers." read more

This is what McCain now considers honor. This is what his running mate considers honor. This is what they work to inspire in their followers--death threats for his opponent, racism to a news reporter, false accusations of terrorism. John McCain has revealed what kind of hateful and dangerous President he would make.

Of course, what do you expect from a man who helped sell arms to Iran and associated with known terrorist, John Singlaub? read more Surely, not honor.

What do you expect from a man who was involved in the last financial meltdown caused by greed and deregulation? read more Surely, not honor.

And as far as Sarah Palin, when you advocate the violent overthrow of the American government:

"Isn't it funny that Sarah Palin would totally distort the Times story and tell lies about Obama "palling around with terrorists," when, in fact, it is her husband who was actually the member of a secessionist group whose founder hated America and got killed and chopped up and
buried in a tarp after a plastic-explosives deal went bad? Isn't it funny that Sarah Palin is calling Obama out when in fact it is HER OWN HUSBAND WHO PALS AROUND WITH TERRORISTS!? ISN'T THAT JUST SO FUNNY?!?!" read more

THAT is treason and she and her terrorist pals should be arrested immediately.

But more than anything what this latest slime from the McCain camp reveals is a pathetic desperation. They have nothing to offer the American people except fear, hatred, lies, slime---all tactics they learned from associating so closely with their best buds, the Bush administration. Nothing says Bush clone like the campaign McCain is running, no matter how much he tries to deny it. The only honor and dignity in this campaign belongs to Obama and the American people know it.

Purchase button and other items by clicking on image.

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Monday, October 06, 2008

John McCain, Domestic Terrorist

So, the McCain camp in a desperate move to prove once and for all that they have no ideas to move the country forward, again drag out the tired old Ayers mythology to try and prove that an 8 year old Obama was best buds with a terrorist. It's shaky ground for McCain as the following votes listed by THINK PROGRESS prove:

"Voting against making anti-choice violence a federal crime. As the Jed Report notes, McCain voted in 1993 and 1994 against
making “bombings, arson and blockades at abortion clinics, and
shootings and threats of violence against doctors and nurses who
perform abortions” federal crimes.

Opposing Colorado’s “Bubble Law.” McCain said he opposed
Colorado’s “Bubble Law,” which prohibited abortion protesters from
getting within 8 feet of women entering clinics [Denver Post, 2/27/00].
The law was later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Voting to allow those fined for violence at clinics to avoid penalties by declaring bankruptcy. NARAL
Pro-Chioce America notes that McCain “voted to allow perpetrators of
violence or harassment at reproductive-health clinics to avoid paying the fines assessed against them for their illegal acts by declaring bankruptcy.”

read more

Unless you believe that killing people for your personal religious beliefs is okay. If that's the case, then you probably don't believe that McVeigh's bombing the Federal Building was terrorism either. And you'd probably really love living in a country where there's no separation of Church and State, maybe somewhere like Iran?

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Sarah Palin's Ties to Domestic Terrorism

For those of you who love the idea of a "United" States, it might be time to have a look at Ms. Palin's ties to a domestic terrorism group that advocates the violent overthrow of the American government.

"Over the years, Palin has actively courted the Alaska Independence Party, or AIP, an organization that supports Alaskan secession from the U.S. To be clear, we're not necessarily talking about friendly secession either: As the AIP's founder, Joe Vogler, told an interviewer in 1991: "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. ... And I won't be buried under their damn flag." read more

If someone with a foreign-sounding name advocated anything like this, they'd be splattered all over the news as proof the war on terror nabbed another one, and then they'd be tortured and then they'd disappear in that cesspool legacy of the Bush administration's torture chambers.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dividing The Sheep

I realized the other day, after yet another heated virtual discussion broke out on among list members, that every single mailing list I'm on has degenerated at some point into name calling, insults, and hurt feelings. No one can talk anymore. No one can have a discussion without it deteriorating into a flame war shouting match. There's no more middle ground, no more giving way to the possibility that the other person's candidate, religion, political party, choice of relationships, place of employment might be equal or gasp! even better than one's own. We've become a nation of petulant children who must have our way or else.

It's easy to lose hope that we'll ever get along again, but I'm an optimist. It's what's kept me alive and kicking in situations that would have destroyed or even killed others. I always believe in people far more than they deserve to be believed in at times. I have to, because to believe that people really are as awful in real life as they are on mailing lists and discussion forums is to give up on the world. I'm not ready to do that yet, if ever. I'll probably go to my death still believing that we can be better than we are.

But there's some things we need to do in order to reclaim the title of human being. Here's a partial list. Feel free to add to it in the comments section as I consider this a world community project where those of us who really do want a better world are prepared to lead the way toward it.

1. Stop listening to those who insist on creating a divided world. What right do they have to create wedges between human beings, and why are you giving them the power to do so?

2. Stop perceiving human beings as being superior and inferior to each other. If you hate, if you're a bigot and harbor prejudices, then you are a tool waiting to be used. Look at History and see how people's hatreds were manipulated by those with evil intentions, by those with an insatiable hunger for power and greed. It's way too easy to stir up a crowd of people if their noses are already pointed in the direction someone wants them to go. Be aware of those who preach hate. Ask yourself what they have to gain if they succeed in making you hate along with them.

3. Make compassion the core of your being. It's a lot easier said than done because in order to know compassion, you have to receive it. So make  a point of giving it away because it is the only way to create a more compassionate world. There's nothing that can be pointed at and said this is it and this is not it. Compassion is one of those misty things that can only be felt, and if you've never felt it then it's impossible to understand.

4. Step outside your own needs and desires and pay attention to what others need and desire. Once you step outside your tiny little world, then life becomes larger, the world becomes larger. And yet it becomes interwoven once we realize we all have the same basic needs and desires. If we create a world with these as our foundation, then no one need suffer from lack of them.

5. Accept that there is only one way to create a world filled with healthy people, prosperity, knowledge, creativity, and scientific marvels and that is to do away with war. It is the single act that has prevented human beings from evolving to their full potential. We must embrace Peace with the same fervor, the same enthusiasm, the same desire as we do war, or we will never become complete human beings.

Shirt and other gifts with peace penguins available at Ursine Logic

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